NYPD to keep busting Brooklyn stoners despite DA’s new policy


“Hello Brooklyn”.

Despite Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announcing last week that his office will no longer prosecute cases for low-level marijuana possession, the New York Police Department says it is business as usual when it comes to busting stoners in the streets of the Big Apple.
Just days after Thompson received praise from marijuana proponents for taking a stand against the war on drugs and its fierce efforts to lure non-violent offenders, especially those of African American decent, into the criminal justice system, police commissioner Bill Bratton emerged with a subsequent statement demanding officers to ignore the new policy.

“The Brooklyn DA’s new policy does not change any policy, practice or procedure of the NYPD,” said Commissioner Bratton in a written statement, which was distributed Friday to all police officers patrolling in Brooklyn. “The NYPD will continue to enforce the law uniformly throughout all five boroughs of the city.
The police commissioner’s memo continues by arguing that Thompson has no power to dictate how the NYPD enforces the law. “The Brooklyn DA has the authority to determine how his office will prosecute cases, but that does not limit the authority of the NYPD to make lawful arrests.”
In a press conference earlier last week at Queens College, police commissioner Bratton told reporters the city would continue to support officers who arrest people for pot possession, regardless of Brooklyn’s newfound intentions. “The city attorney has assured us that if the officers were operating within the scope of the law, which we would automatically assume they were, that they would be basically defended by the city,” said Bratton, adding that Thompson’s progressive ideas have no bearing on the actions of the NYPD. “It really does not change the working circumstances of police officers who are in the field.”
Unfortunately, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is walking the proverbial white line down the center of the road when it comes to this cannabis conundrum, siding with both Thompson’s sensible policies and Bratton’s will to continue waging war on the average marijuana user living in New York City.
“I think it’s important to understand the specifics here and I think have not been necessarily portrayed accurately in the public discourse,” said de Blasio during the same press conference.
“What I think District Attorney Thompson is trying to achieve is to try and make sure that our energies go to serious crime and to not focus on the most minor offenses,” he continued. “But to make sure at all times and I think he’s been quite explicit about this, that there is full officer discretion. In the end, in each moment where a police office encounters a citizen is individual and officers must use their discretion. And there is absolute consistency in the district attorney’s position.”
De Blasio concluded his statement by insisting that the NYPD and the Brooklyn DA have already been working together to dismiss small pot possession offenses and focus their efforts on serious crime. “In terms of the NYPD, look at the numbers: the lowest level of marijuana arrests are down, and there’s constant and obvious devotion to officer discretion in all matters,” he said. “The lowest level marijuana arrests are down and the focus is on serious crime, as it should be.”
However, Gabriel Sayegh, the New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance told Capital New York there has been no decrease in pot arrests since the de Blasio/Bratton administration took office.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.